Sunday, November 16, 2008

Partisan political films please, we're the PAP

Three years ago, I was placed under police investagation for making Singapore Rebel. I had to surrender all my tapes and camera and was subjected to gruelling interviews by the police - all for making a "party political film", as alleged by the complainant, the Media Development Authority (MDA).

Some of my friends and acquaintances were also called up by the police for interviews, as the Singapore Gestapo combed through my phone records without my knowledge. I have publicly stated, even to the local press, that I hope to be the first and last person to be formally investigated for making a political film in Singapore.

Today, I can safely lay claim to that title.

The ruling People's Action Party will be making and posting their videos on their website. That's great news. But then someone should tell them to submit all their videos to the Board of Film Censors, as required by the Films Act. Otherwise, the censors are not averse to physically seizing films, as they did with One Nation Under Lee. Or are some parties in Singapore more above the law than others?

For the record, Singapore Rebel and Zahari's 17 Years are still officially banned in Singapore. Possession of any such copies are liable to prosecution. But yes, I do have copies, and I will resubmit both videos to the censors very soon.

And lest anyone is duped into believing that Singapore is opening up beacuse of the easing of political films, please be reminded that the Act banning such films was passed in 1998. With the latest ruling, we're really no better than we were prior to 1998. It's two steps back, one step forward. Again, if you still need further confirmation, ask him, and them.

PAP aims to click with young

Revamped website to feature party's videos in bid to connect with IT-savvy voters
By Goh Chin Lian

Singaporeans can now go online to watch short videos of People's Action Party (PAP) MPs at events on the party's revamped website that was launched yesterday.

It is a new way to reach out to young and IT-savvy voters, said party chairman Lim Boon Heng last night.

'New media is facilitating change. Our party is gearing up our resources to harness this new platform,' he told 1,500 activists and unionists at the PAP's awards ceremony.

'It will change some of the things that we do at our branches.'

For instance, at each of the 84 branches, two or three party activists will now report on events, and put up slideshows and video footage on the party website.

'Since the new media is reaching out to more and more people, not just the young but also some of the older ones who have got into IT, the party should use it as a medium for reaching out to people,' Mr Lim told reporters later.

His comments follow recent moves to ease the ban on party political videos. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong indicated at this year's National Day Rally that he was in favour of relaxing existing rules.

A government-appointed advisory council on new media issues is expected to make known its recommendations.

Once the new rules are clear, Mr Lim said the party will ensure that its branches abide by them. Currently, the videos on its website are more like slideshows.

Some MPs like Mrs Josephine Teo plan to do more than videos. Her Toa Payoh East branch intends to set up an account on social networking site Facebook for residents to communicate with her and with one another.

That is because traditional ways of outreach are not as effective with the young.

Read the rest here.